South Africans are unlikely to face crippling healthcare bills and have fairly good access to services, suggesting the country is well on the path to providing universal health coverage, according to a report by the World Bank and the World Health Organisation. The Tracking Universal Health Coverage report defines universal coverage as meaning that all people can obtain the health services they need without suffering financial hardship. Achieving universal health coverage by 2030 is one of the Sustainable Development Goals. The report’s findings on SA challenge the Department of Health’s rhetoric on National Health Insurance, an ambitious set of health reforms that it says are intended to provide universal health coverage. The findings show the country is to some extent there already. The report found SA’s service coverage index, which gauges the provision of essential health services, was 67, putting it in the top half of the 183 countries surveyed. About 80 countries rank higher t...

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